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Singtel H1 profit up 82.6% on exceptional gain; dividend of 5.2 cents a share

SINGAPORE – Singtel on Thursday posted an 82.6 per cent rise in net profit for the first half of 2023, supported by an exceptional gain from regional associate Telkomsel’s integration of IndiHome, a fixed broadband provider in Indonesia.

Net profit for the six months ended Sept 30 stood at $2.1 billion, compared with a net profit of S$1.2 billion for the same period in 2022.

The results translate to an earnings per share (EPS) of 12.94 cents, compared with an EPS of 7.09 cents in the year-ago period.

Operating revenue, however, dropped 3.2 per cent year on year to $7 billion from $7.3 billion.

The group’s results were “adversely impacted” by the strength of the Singapore dollar against the Australian dollar and regional currencies, said Singtel in its results announcement.

In constant currency terms, operating revenue would be 1.5 per cent higher.

Singtel attributed the improvement to strong showings from NCS and Digital InfraCo which offset weakness in the group’s Singapore and Australia enterprise business.

Singtel group chief executive Yuen Kuan Moon said: “Our regional associates’ contributions also grew, boosted by improving market dynamics.”

The board has approved an interim dividend of 5.2 cents per share for the half-year period – 77 per cent of the group’s first half underlying net profit of $1.1 billion, which was up 12 per cent year on year.

The group previously revised its dividend policy to raise the payout range to between 70 per cent and 90 per cent of underlying net profit, from between 60 per cent and 80 per cent.

The dividend will be paid on Dec 8 after books closure on Nov 21.

Mr Yuen said the telco has made steady progress in its strategic reset over the past 2½ years.

“We’ve simplified our organisation so our businesses have greater agility to pursue growth, divested non-core digital businesses and strengthened our financial position with $5 billion received from the capital recycled,” he said.

Mr Yuen added that the focus now is on rapidly scaling up the group’s growth engines, and that Singtel expects its strategic partnership with investment firm KKR to accelerate the expansion of the group’s regional data centre business in Asean.

Singtel shares were trading up three cents, or 1.3 per cent at $2.39, as at 9.11am, after its results announcement.

On Wednesday, the shares fell 4.8 per cent after an Australia-wide network outage that lasted almost 14 hours hit its Optus unit. THE BUSINESS TIMES

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